Day One Pass-Rushing Options:
JACK Linebacker- Zach Baun, Wisconsin
Because of how high the Detroit Lions pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the only way they would select the edge rusher out of Wisconsin is if they happened to trade back into the late first round. Some might think that it would be better to go with LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson. However, Baun would be the better move for the Lions.
Baun is currently more progressed in his pass-rushing prowess than Chaisson, as he is more refined and has more of a plan when going on the attack. Baun is quick off the edge and has nice bend, allowing him to quickly pass by offensive tackles. He is also good when dropping into coverage, possessing a nice feel for his zone drops and containing the athleticism needed to stick with a running back or tight end in man coverage.
Defensive End- Chase Young, Ohio State
If OSU’s Chase Young, the ultra-talented defensive end, is still on the board at three overall then the Detroit Lions need to sprint the draft card to the podium. Young excels in everything he does from pressuring quarterbacks to defending the edge against the run. He plays with extraordinary power and speed, that when combined, makes him nearly impossible to stop.
Young was able to get near the quarterback nine out of 10 times when rushing the passer in his time in college. He does more than just use his power and speed to get by tackles, as he always has a plan when attacking offensive lineman.
The only thing he needs to work on right now and try to improve greatly is his pad level, as he can play too high on occasion. Once he fixes that however, he may very well be as close to unstoppable as a player can be today, and would transform the Lions’ defense.
Interior Defensive Lineman- Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
If the Lions trade back and end up missing out on Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, then South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw should be very high on their list of first-round targets. Kinlaw is a little raw, depending upon his natural strength and athleticism to win his battles more often than not. However, his physical gifts are so great that he is often able to emerge victoriously.
He is a better pass-rusher than Auburn’s Derrick Brown and that’s what the Lions desperately need on the interior of their defensive line. With a more refined approach and a better understanding of how pass-rush moves can help him win faster and more efficiently, then he could quickly become a well-known terror anchoring the Lions’ defensive line.